StockMarketWire.com - Firestone Diamonds finished its financial year with another extremely strong quarter.

An update on activities at its 75%-owned Liqhobong diamond mine for the quarter ended June said that plant commissioning activities had been completed and full nameplate targets had been reached for all three months of the quarter.

Other highlights:

- 925,000 tonnes treated (Q3: 639,000 tonnes) bringing total for the financial year to 1,966,000 tonnes, at upper end of guidance range of 1,800,000 to 2,000,000 tonnes

- 204,000 carats recovered at a grade of 22 carats per hundred tonnes (Q3: 103,000 carats at a grade of 16.1 cpht) bringing total carats recovered for the financial year to 365,000 at an average grade of 18.6 cpht, ahead of guidance (360,000 carats)

- Recovery of 54 special stones (larger than 10.8 carats) as well as the continued recovery of fancy yellow diamonds (Q3: 31 special stones), a total of 112 special stones were recovered during the financial year

- Two scheduled diamond sales held during the quarter in Antwerp saw 182,786 carats sold, generating total sale proceeds of US$14.1 million, achieving an average price of US$77 per carat, due to different sales mix compared to previous quarter

- Diamond sales for the financial year saw 310,376 carats sold, generating total sale proceeds of US$27.8 million, achieving an average price of US$90 per carat

- Continued strong operating cost management resulting in US$11.3 per tonne treated for the quarter and US$11.6 per tonne treated for the year, slightly below bottom end of guidance

- Following the completion of commercial production testing, Firestone commenced commercial production and ceased capitalising Project expenditure from 1 July 2017

- As at 30 June 2017, cash on hand was US$17.3 million, which includes the US$5.0 million drawn down from the extended US$15.0 million standby facility, with US$10.0 million still available

- Zero lost time injury record maintained, with over 4.4 million hours worked since the start of the Project over three years ago

- Post the period end, second ABSA debt repayment of US$4.1 million made

Chief executive Stuart Brown said: "I am delighted to report that Firestone has finished its financial year with another extremely strong quarter.

"The commissioning and ramp up process at Liqhobong has been very successful, particularly in terms of mining and treatment and to have achieved commercial production within eight months of start-up is an exceptional record.

"I am exceedingly proud of the team's performance and in particular the safety record, which we continue to strive to protect.

"I look forward to reporting on the next financial year where Firestone expects to realise its vision of becoming a mid-tier diamond producer."






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